London gangster films; there was a time when the British public couldn’t fackin’ get enough of them. So it remains surprising that 2013’s Welcome to the Punch has not been hyped to within an inch of its life.
Perhaps we as a nation have grown weary of London ‘ard barstard’ films? Disengaged by the ever increasing number of straight-to-DVD Danny Dyer travesties, a franchise even he has decided to give up in favour of knock-women-about comedy’s such as Run for Your Wife. All of a sudden, Tamer Hassan is looking like the Daniel Day-Lewis of low budget gangster tripe.
But hang on, let’s not throw ‘the Punch’ in that supermarket bargain basket collection just yet. Let’s look at the positives:
- Mark Strong plays a bald headed, gruff voiced, Kaiser Soze-style walking gang land myth who it seems from the trailer is un-nailable, the Police all want to nail him and they just can’t. He’s the invisible man, he’s your worst nightmare and he’s called Jacob Sternwood. I mean Christ, who came up with Jacob Sternwood? Even if that was a Harry Potter character name you’d think ‘bit of a wuss, definitely going to fall in a ditch’. How can you be expected take a character seriously if he sounds like the boy who would cry every day when his Mum dropped him off at school?
- It stars fine thespian James McAvoy with acting chops so big that you could hang them in a butcher’s window. Jimmy is always ready to act a nut off in order to make the best out of a role, just as long as he’s not expected to be some sort of gun expert or tough guy like in The Wanted, then his wee soft eyes and choir-boy looks give him away. He’s not doing much gun pointing or macho lines in this is he? I mean you wouldn’t get him to say thing likes ‘we’ll end this tonight’ surely?…Was Tamer unavailable?!
- Ridley Scott is the executive producer and the last time Ridley dipped his toe in crime-thriller waters you had the magnificent American Gangster. However, from the trailer you can clearly see Ridley’s fingerprints all over this. The finger of blame can be pointed directly at Mr. Scott for the fact that it seems to be set in a futuristic-Londopolis where everything looks a strange neon-blue colour. British films come into their own when they truly accept where they are set (Eastern Promises) instead of becoming an advert for the British tourist board. More sleazy pubs and one-armed bandits, less buildings made completely of glass and sets where you expect Harrison Ford to be running about please.
- The film is written and directed by Eran Creevy who is best known for Wimbledon.
I tried, I really did.
Welcome to the Punch will be in UK cinemas from March 15th (date unknown for placement in supermarket bargain bins)